Saturday, November 12, 2016

Respecting the office of the presidency

This is going to be a real test of our principles.   A test of the principle of honesty and candor vs. our tradition of respecting the office of the President of the United States.  So what then if this man was the chief cheerleader for years of trying to delegitimize the man he will be replacing?   What respect did he have then for the office that he now will hold himself?

Here's how Huffington Post's political editor Ryan Grim explains their decision about the footer they've been running at the end of any article about Donald Trump, which they will no longer do.

"Early in this election campaign, we began appending an editor’s note to our coverage of Donald Trump, highlighting his racism, misogyny and xenophobia.  He made no secret of any of it, and he was elected president anyway. That doesn’t make it any less true.

"But throughout the entire administration of Barack Obama, a segment of the Republican coalition, led by Trump, questioned the very legitimacy of his presidency, breaking from a long-held American tradition.

"We’re not going to do the same. Whether we like it or not ― and let’s continue to be honest, we don’t ― he won the election. It was a win that was at once foreseeable ― yet one we failed badly to see.

"Where we find fault in how Trump governs, we won’t hesitate to call it out. If he encroaches on the norms of our democracy, if he targets minority groups or other vulnerable elements of the population, we won’t hesitate to say so loudly and clearly. If he follows his worst instincts and caters to the klatch of white supremacists who endorsed him, we won’t flinch from calling him racist. But we have hope that the man we saw on the trail at his worst moments is not the man who will enter the White House.

'If Trump can reverse the economic inequality he decried during his campaign, bring back manufacturing jobs, find a way to give people better healthcare for less money, invest in infrastructure to stimulate the economy and otherwise make the country great, we’ll cheer him on. We’ll find out."  -- Ryan Grim, Huffington Post.

It will challenge me to do the same, but I think it is right.  I will be critical of his actions and say when I disagree.   I will not hesitate to criticize the appointments he makes.   But it seems only fair to give him the chance to show us a different Donald Trump than he did to win the election.  Not only because it seems fair to do that, but because it will ultimately be in all our best interests if we try to help him make America better than it is.


PS:  I wrote the above and then watched some news shows on MSNBC.   I have to say that, I had been encouraged by some indications that Trump was beginning to take the office seriously and modifying his attitude and behavior and accepting help from people experienced in government.

However, there is troubling news that he is again sending out inflammatory tweets, calling the peaceful marchers in  their third night "professional protesters" and implying that the media is behind it.   Until he takes the high road, recognizes the divisiveness and the fear that his election has caused, and offers conciliatory words to bring the country together -- then he is failing already as a leader.

It is encouraging on the one hand that he has turned the transition over to Mike Pence (not that I like his policies, but at least he knows how Washington works).   But it is troubling that he has put his three children on the "executive committee" of the transition team, while at the same time turning over control of his business to these same three children.   That is not putting it into the blind trust that is the usual way of a president's handling of his finances while in office.   That is just one half-step away from his continuing to run it himself;  plus it raises the question of whether they are themselves part of the government if they are on the transition team.   So there already are reasons to worry about how this is going to go.

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